Is this the end of the hybrid working era?

Boots UK has ordered 3,900 staff members back to the office from 1st September. Following the moves of other large corporations including Nationwide.

Is this signal that the hybrid working era is ending or are businesses shooting themselves in the foot? Boots and Nationwide may see themselves struggling to recruit, especially with employees putting flexible working arrangements at the top of their lists besides salary.

Working from home works for business gives flexibility and helps with the good old work-life balance, particularly for working mothers and fathers. Could they be the most affected in this situation? Don’t worry Gen-Z, we know this will still impact you and those without kids, but another hour or two of commuting adds to ever-increasing childcare bills.

Did you know, 2 children in childcare for 5 days full-time could cost close to £2k per month?

Why Boots are ending hybrid working arrangements.

So back to Boots, what do they want and what are the “benefits” being offered? Want better Wi-Fi and IT systems? YES, they are doing that now, a literal necessity of a job. That’s no benefit! Improving car parking facilities, does that mean it’s going to be free or are you adding 2 extra days of commuting costs to employees? Just for you to have the “fun and spirited” atmosphere in the office!

 The main reason for Boots CEO Seb James, removing hybrid working is a strategic business move as Boots US owner Walgreens Boots Alliance is considering the options for Boots UK. The options will likely be a sale or flotation on the London Stock Exchange, with an expectant value of £ 7 billion.

James has also said being in the office allows for more informal conversation and it’s easier to organise face-to-face group meetings. Two aspects are necessary for maintaining and enhancing company culture.

You may be thinking, why can this not happen on the 3 days people are already in the office, does 2 days at home make a significant difference?

Boots creating a reputation for backward thinking?

Full-time office-based feels outdated, people are more shocked at someone working full-time in the office compared to hybrid working. Giving a business a reputation for backward thinking, as they aren’t keeping up with the latest workplace trends.

A survey by Start-ups showed that 12% of firms were planning to trial a four-day work week in 2024, looking to improve employee wellbeing. Asda announced in January their plan to trial 4-day weeks, a business strategy to improve the company’s working conditions following mass walkouts from senior staff.

Employees are emphasising working from home over pay, meaning if a role has higher money but is full-time office based, the candidate may opt for the lesser money with the ability to work from home.

Another report by Start-ups identified that flexible working may save your job, with 38% of fully in-office firms surveyed having made job cuts in the previous year, however, compared to remote teams where only 16% had made job cuts in 2023.

Time to stop fighting the flexible working revolution, as companies continue to struggle to find the right talent for roles – if you are fighting flexible working you may be lowering your chance further of hiring strong candidates. For example, Disney and Starbucks both were changing their hybrid working policies but backtracked this following employee response.

Hybrid working and Employee Wellbeing

The Office for National Statistics released figures in February, which showed that the UK broke records with £2.8 million inactive due to long-term sickness. One in five employees surveyed by YouGov needed to take time off due to mental health issues caused by levels of pressure and stress.

Hybrid working may reduce stress related to commuting and office politics, giving employees the ability to create a working environment to suit their preferences helping to reduce work-related stress. Employees will have more time to spend with family or on hobbies such as cooking or gym, all helping to improve their well-being.

We ran a poll on LinkedIn, asking the audience if they would find a new job role if their employers removed hybrid working. 73% of 89 respondents said they would opt to find a new role if hybrid working wasn’t an option. In this poll we also asked if people were already full-time office, 18% of the 89 votes were full-time office, leaving only 9% who would stay if hybrid working was removed.  

Going off these results, imagine 73% of your workforce looking for new roles if you remove hybrid working, would you be able to replace them all?

Will Boots backtrack?

It has been rumoured that Boots employees have turned on their “open to work” on LinkedIn, if Boots experience a mass walkout this may impact the value of the business and reputation. Furthermore, a mass walkout may make the business unable to function at the necessary capacity to meet customer service needs.

For example, Starbucks’ employees signed an open letter in protest to the return to the office 3 days a week stating it would impact productivity negatively, morale and sustainability. 

Boots will want to monitor productivity and absence levels to evaluate if the full return to office is having a positive or negative impact.

P&O ferries pay staff less than UK minimum wage

Is P&O taking advantage of international staff through a legal loophole?

The minimum wage in the UK is set to increase from £10.42 per hour to £11.44 next month, so how is P&O getting away with paying foreign as low as £4.87 per hour? 2 years ago, P&O was in the headlines for sacking nearly 800 staff to replace with cheaper employees.

Another situation impacting P&O’s business reputation further.

P&O fired 800 employees in 2022

In 2022 P&O was in the headlines for making 800 staff redundant with immediate effect, an illegal move by the company. P&O felt they were left with no other option but to sack and rehire cheaper staff, due
to financial struggles.  A move the UK government called “wholly unacceptable” and RMT Union labelling it one of the “most shameful acts in the history of British industrial relations”.

Employees were informed there would be a pre-recorded Zoom meeting. The recording was less than 3 minutes long and employees were made aware it was their last working day with P&O, employees were made redundant on the call. Employees had no previous warnings of their jobs being at risk.

Crew members were escorted off ships and made aware of cheaper labour being used, to replace them. Their approach in handling redundancies isn’t the first case, however, foregoing notice and consultation
processes is exceptional.

 

Peter Hebblethwaite Chief executive of P&O admitted to breaking the law when handling the redundancies, however neither the company nor the chief executive was prosecuted. MPs in the UK called for the “Fire and Rehire” practices to become illegal within the UK, however, 2 years later this remains legal. 

Legal loophole for maritime minimum wage

There is a legal loophole in that UK minimum wage rates, do not apply to maritime employees working for foreign agencies on ships registered abroad while in international waters.  P&O is owned by Dubai-based DP World, allowing for this to happen.

It was previously suggested that the company’s lowest wage was £5.15 an hour, where some employees were earning £4.87 an hour excluding holiday pay.  This came to light following an analysis conducted by ITV News and the Guardian.

To put it into context, the UK minimum wage has been above this level for 20 years, going back on records 2004 main rate for anyone over 22 was £4.85.

The company has denied knowing or recognising the lower rate of pay, a spokesperson stipulated “We always pay at least the minimum wage required by national and international laws.”

 

There is UK law “Seafarer’s Wages Act” in the pipeline and has received royal assent, meaning ferry operators must pay rates equivalent to the UK minimum wage. Grant Shapps UK’s transport secretary at the time of P&O’s fire and rehire tactics promised this legislation to improve cross-channel ferry worker’s pay, preventing a similar situation from arising again, however 2 years on, laws are no further along. 

Impact on P&Os reputation

As controversies grow surrounding P&O, including illegally sacking employees and below minimum wage pay, employees have made allegations of extreme working conditions. A P&O spokesperson has said in
addition to wages they “provide all meals, modern accommodation, gym sauna plus travel to and from their home country including flights.” However, does this make up for 12-hour shifts 7 days a week for 17 weeks? We don’t think so!

The gruelling schedule experienced by employees with no breaks and remaining on the ship for months at a time puts immense mental stress on employees. An employee has alleged it is a ruthless schedule of
“sleep, work, sleep, work” causes employees to feel they are going mad and describe conditions like “being in a jail”.

No legal action was taken following the illegal sacking of employees in 2022, giving the company a sense they are above the law. This perception may leave employees feeling insecure in their job roles and
undervalued with being sacked at any point. 

Changes to paternity leave legislation 2024 in GB

From 8th March, paternity leave legislation changes take effect for any babies born after 6th April. The UK Government published draft legislation outlining the proposed changes for taking statutory paternity leave.

The current employment law states, that employees are entitled to take only one period of paternity leave whether it’s one or two weeks, which must be taken within 56 days of the birth or adoption date. The new legislation allows the employee to take the leave in two separate blocks throughout the first 52 weeks of birth or placement.

Requirements of notification have also changed, employees still need to give notice of their entitlement 15 weeks before the expected birth date, however, will only have to give notice of the planned week of leave 28 days prior.

Currently, this legislation is only coming into effect in England, Scotland, and Wales. For Northern Ireland, we await to see the decisions made by the Government as they return to Stormont.

What businesses must do for Paternity Leave legislation changes?

Several steps businesses must take to ensure compliance with the new paternity leave legislation.

Beginning with updating company policies and documentation in line with the new employment law. Revising its paternity leave policies is the first step for employers to take, updating to include the fathers/partners’ ability to split their paternity leave, taking this during the first 52 weeks of the child’s birth or adoption. This includes updating employee handbooks and other internal documentation to ensure consistency.

Training HR departments and managers, helping to familiarise them with the changes and to understand updated rights and responsibilities. This will include tracking and approving of split paternity leave and outlining best practices for managing the more flexible leave structures.

With any policy change/update, this must be communicated to employees through internal communications, we use BreatheHR allowing automated email notifications to be pushed through when new documentation has been added and reviewed. BreatheHR also lets you see if the employee has read it or not.

Provide clear instructions for requesting paternity leave following the new regulations, this includes required documentation and notice periods. Employers should continually monitor the uptake of paternity leave and patterns, understanding if there is any support employees need during this time.

Gender equality and paternity leave legislation

The amendments to legislation allow for greater flexibility in the workplace, this flexibility may help in normalising the involvement of both parents in childcare from an early age. Reducing the potential financial burden on the main financial provider is also important, especially since the mother is on maternity leave with reduced income.

The statutory paternity leave entitlement in the UK is either £172.48 per week or 90% of the average weekly earnings in 2024 (source: GOV.uk), whichever is lower.

As the financial element remains, fathers/partners may still be reluctant to take full entitlement, as pay entitlement may be considerably lower than normal. Deep-rooted gender stereotypes about gender roles involving childcare play a huge role in the success of this legislation change.

Many critics feel the duration of paternity leave in the UK is still minimal compared to many countries in Europe. Two weeks to bond with your child doesn’t feel a sufficient amount of time, to reach gender equality in this aspect.

Other countries winning at Paternity leave entitlements.

Sweden has one of the most generous paternity leave entitlements across the globe, parents are entitled to 480 days of parental leave combined. 90 days of the 480 days are reserved for each parent. This leave may be consumed until the child turns 8 years old, splitting the leave up in various patterns/periods. The parents can take it concurrently or separately. 2

Payments during this period are 80% of the salary (capped at a certain limit) for 390 days and for the remaining 90 days a flat rate is paid.

Another example is Norway, parental leave is 49 weeks at 100% pay or 59 weeks at 80% pay, 15 weeks of the entitlement are reserved for the father/partner. The pay is subject to a cap but is typically based on the individual’s income. The father/partner can reserve weeks independently of the mother/partner’s leave, additional leave can be split between both parents.

The UK paternity leave entitlement is far behind other countries within Europe, Spain entitlement includes 16 weeks of paternity leave at 100% pay with the first 6 weeks taken immediately after the child is born. The new legislation is a welcome move to reduce the potential financial burden on the sole financial earner, but more work is needed to reach gender equality giving fathers/partners more time to bond with their child.

The New Worker Protection Act

The UK Government is set to introduce the New Worker Protection Act, coming into force in October 2024. The Act puts more responsibility on the employer to protect employees from sexual harassment. It is being implemented to create a safer workplace environment, ensuring employers are proactive and taking all necessary steps to prevent workplace sexual harassment.

An ACAS consultation stated that the new law being implemented this year does not go far enough. Still, the Worker Protection Act is a step in the right direction for workplace safety and equality. The general feeling is that employers in the UK are not prepared for the changes to come with the new Worker Protection Act. Employers are encouraged to engage with ACAS and HR consultants to help aid in preparation for the new Act.

This Act is only coming into force in Great Britain on 26th October 2024 and not in Northern Ireland. In Northern Ireland, there are different provisions in place regarding sexual harassment in the workplace.

Employer duties following the new Worker Protection Act

The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act) Act, originating as a Private Members Bill supported by the UK Government was enacted on 26 October 2023 and came into force a year later. Employers will have enhanced duties to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

Including emphasis on the need to take reasonable steps, such as enforcing a clear anti-harassment policy, and providing frequent training on preventing and responding to sexual harassment in the workplace. If a complaint is raised, a prompt investigation must take place, and if required disciplinary action should be carried out. Continuous reviewing and updating of policy is required.

There is a potential for a lower threshold for duty on employers, as the act removes the word ‘all’ from ‘all reasonably practicable steps.’ This change is not clear but once the legislation is implemented and interpreted, it will become clearer for employers.

This act is specifically targeting the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace and no other forms of harassment based on protected characteristics.

Impact if a business fails to comply.

Where sexual harassment claims are successful and it identifies the employer has not fulfilled their duty in preventing harassment in the workplace, leads to a 25% in uplift to the compensation awarded to the employee.

Failure to comply will cause a significant reputation impact leading to potential and existing customers, candidates, and employees boycotting the company. The company will see a downturn in performance and profits.

Statistics of sexual harassment in the UK workplace

A survey by Trade Union Congress (TUC) of 1000 women in the UK, found that 3 out of 5 women have experienced harassment at work. This includes 43% of the women experienced at least three incidents of sexual harassment at work.

The survey also shockingly found that 39% of the recent incidents “perpetrator of the sexual harassment, bullying or verbal abuse was a third party rather than another member of staff” (TUC).

Employees are not always forthcoming when incidents occur, the survey found that only 30% of women who experienced sexual harassment at work would report the incident to their employer.

McDonald’s sexual harassment cases

In 2023, it came to light that McDonald’s was receiving weekly sexual harassment claims and currently probing 27 sexual harassment claims (As of November 2023). McDonald’s UK chief executive has described the claims as “truly horrific”, with the company receiving one to two sexual harassment claims per week, highlighting the need for immediate action by the company.

The level of claims reflects poorly on the company’s workplace culture and raises questions about McDonald’s HR policies and procedures in place to prevent these situations from arising.

Where McDonald’s may have gone wrong

The level of claims suggests the current measures set to prevent sexual harassment are insufficient, whether this is poor training or failing to enforce current policies. Alternatively, a poor workplace culture that does not prioritise their employee’s safety, and a workplace culture that allows harassment to occur or go unchallenged can undermine even the most well-intentioned policies.

The number of ongoing investigations implies that the process for reporting and resolving complaints might be ineffective or overly complex, discouraging employees who have experienced this from coming forward or leading to delays in addressing the issues.

The situation at McDonald’s suggests a potential lack of accountability at various levels, with leaders possibly not taking sufficient action to prevent harassment or address it effectively when it occurs. Continuous education and training on sexual harassment are essential in maintaining a respectful workplace. The recurring nature of these complaints may indicate a gap in McDonald’s training programs or in ensuring that all employees understand the seriousness of harassment and their role in preventing it.

Going forward

McDonald’s needs to tackle this situation head-on and completely revamp its current policy and procedures, especially how this is communicated to employees. Training employees especially managers are a must to transform their current toxic workplace culture. Ensuring transparency throughout the process and involving employees at all levels can also help in rebuilding trust and affirming the company’s commitment to a harassment-free workplace.

Is Ryanair changing its company culture?

Ryanair has bought 25/28 homes in Swords, Dublin and how has this changed company culture?

CEO Michael O’Leary refuses to apologise for their recent business move. This move addresses the housing crisis and talent acquisition problem numerous companies face, particularly in Dublin, Ireland.

Ryanair is making good news by changing their values and setting a new standard for businesses worldwide. They are in the headlines for redefining their internal ethos and setting a new benchmark for many businesses globally.

The airline bought houses in Dublin close to the airport, for its employees to improve company culture and help employees in the housing crisis.

O’Leary’s approach highlighted a key issue in Dublin and worldwide: the lack of affordable housing and its location. This affected both the public and organisations, making it a controversial move. Ryanair is taking direct action on the problem, which could set an example for other companies. It shows that employee well-being is important beyond just the workplace.

Ryanair’s company culture

Ryanair has faced criticism, more than once over its company culture. Michael O’Leary did mention their first priority is their customers and the second is their employees. This incentive may be the beginning of seeing Ryanair putting employees’ well-being above their customers and brand image.

Ryanair is giving priority to its employees. They are doing this by reducing rent for the first year. Additionally, they are addressing transportation issues for early shifts to the airport. This further acts as a business decision to keep their flight schedule.

Many people have welcomed the reaction to Ryanair’s move. While some, like Cian O’Callaghan of the Irish Social Democrats, view it as a “kick in the teeth” for first-time homebuyers, others see it as a much-needed support system for employees struggling with Dublin’s outrageous housing costs. This contradiction underscores the complex nature of company interventions in societal issues.

Rebranding Ryanair’s Corporate Social Responsibility

Is Ryanair attempting to overhaul its image and take the lead in corporate social responsibility (CSR)? This change is a plan to improve the Company’s image and hire more staff in the short and long term. Ryanair is prioritising the well-being of its employees by addressing the difficulties they encounter outside of work.

Ryanair’s plan to purchase homes for its staff is not merely a publicity stunt. It signifies a significant shift towards a more inclusive and compassionate company culture.

This move demonstrates the airline’s commitment to its employees’ well-being and highlights a departure from its previous practices.

By providing housing for its staff, Ryanair is prioritising their needs and fostering a more supportive work environment. The company acknowledges the importance of happy employees and commits to creating a positive work environment. Although some people disagree, implementing this approach could greatly improve employee morale and enhance the company’s reputation.

Ryanair is changing how it takes care of its employees and acts responsibly, which may influence other companies.

As an HR consultant, we view this as a strategic decision for the business, with pros and cons.

Talent Acquisition and Retention

In competitive job markets, especially those affected by housing crisis like Dublin, companies need to innovate to attract and retain top talent. Ryanair’s approach addresses a critical pain point for many employees – affordable housing. By providing housing options, Ryanair not only makes itself more attractive to potential candidates but also increases the likelihood of retaining current employees who might otherwise consider leaving because of high living costs or commute issues.

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is closely tied to how valued employees feel within the company. By investing in employee housing, Ryanair sends a strong message that it values the well-being of its employees, potentially leading to increased loyalty, higher job satisfaction, and improved productivity. This kind of support may create a positive company culture where employees feel genuinely looked after and supported, which is essential for long-term engagement.

Employer Branding

Ryanair’s move can significantly impact its employer brand, distinguishing it from competitors. In an era where corporate social responsibility (CSR) and ethical business practices are increasingly important to both consumers and potential employees, Ryanair’s initiative could enhance its reputation as a forward-thinking, employee-centric company. This can be particularly beneficial in attracting millennials and Gen Z workers, who often prioritise the values and ethics of their employers.

Ethical and Social Implications

From an ethical standpoint, Ryanair’s initiative raises questions about the role of corporations in addressing societal issues like housing crisis. While the move is commendable for its direct benefit to employees, it also prompts a broader discussion about the responsibilities of businesses in society and the potential for unintended consequences, such as impacting the local housing market and many local individuals unable to purchase homes in Dublin.

Strategic HR Planning

This initiative reflects strategic HR planning, where Ryanair has identified a critical barrier to employee satisfaction and retention and addressed it in a way that aligns with its broader business goals. A testament to the importance of HR in strategic. decision-making and the potential for HR policies to have a reflective impact on the company’s success.

However, there are potential challenges and criticisms to consider. People might see the initiative as a temporary fix rather than a sustainable solution to the housing crisis. Employees may feel dependent on the company because of their housing situation. This can blur personal and professional boundaries and create a risk.

As HR consultants, we think Ryanair’s strategy of buying homes for employees is bold and innovative. This strategy focuses on employee welfare and engagement. It shows how HR is changing to handle both business needs and wider societal issues that impact employees.

Ryanair needs to monitor the outcomes of this new action. If necessary, the company should adjust its plans accordingly. Additionally, they must ensure that this initiative aligns with their larger, enduring commitment to employee welfare and corporate responsibility.

Why choose BeyondHR for your HR consultancy?

BeyondHR: Your trusted HR consultancy firm in Scotland and Northern Ireland

BeyondHR is a distinguished HR consultancy firm providing a wide array of HR consulting services in the UK, including HR management and outsourced HR services in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Content 

Why choose BeyondHR for your HR consultancy?

Our local teams of HR consultants and Health & Safety Consultants are based in Northern Ireland and Scotland, offering HR and health & safety support services. Unlike many HR companies in the UK that bind you with 5-to-10-year contracts, BeyondHR ensures flexibility with contracts, facilitating strategic business planning.

Outsourced HR support for SMEs

Opting for our outsourced HR services not only saves time and money but also provides access to our retained monthly package. This package includes HR management software essential for managing employees’ holiday entitlement, annual leave, documentation, and company announcements, with the added benefit of unlimited calls and emails with our expert HR consultants.

Outsourcing HR services is the equivalent of hiring an HR assistant, but using fewer business resources with our hands on HR support. This may be used for employee appeals, TUPE, Performance reviews, Workplace Mediation, Ill health, Disciplinary & Grievance meetings, Face-to-face advice or Training on a project.

HR Consultancy Services

Through our HR consultancy services, your business gains support in various procedures, including managing employee performance and redundancy processes, allowing you more time to focus on strategic business growth. Our HR consultants in the UK are dedicated to providing clarity and reassurance on employment law and people management, significantly reducing the risk of costly mistakes during sensitive tasks like disciplinaries or managing menopause in the workplace.

Personalised HR Advisory Services

BeyondHR takes pride in offering personalised HR advisory services, not operating as a call centre but providing you with consistent support from a dedicated HR consultant. This approach fosters a deep understanding of your business, ensuring legal compliance in employee documentation and offering guidance through potential pitfalls, such as unfair dismissals or discrimination issues.

Our team is predominantly woman-led with a female COO and two female HR directors.

Local Expertise in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Our HR services, based in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, and Glasgow, Scotland, are delivered by trained HR consultants well-versed in the employment laws of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. With a focus on providing expert HR advice, we support SMEs across Northern Ireland and Scotland, ensuring clarity on HR issues and compliance with employment laws.

The BeyondHR Advantage

Experienced HR Consultants: With support from our seasoned HR consultants, your team gains invaluable insight and expertise in dealing with employee matters, ensuring a safe and compliant working environment.

Hands-On HR Services: BeyondHR offers unlimited email and phone call support, hands-on HR support during probationary period reviews, and participation in disciplinaries, providing your business with the external, unbiased insight it needs to avoid costly mistakes and legal claims.

Why Outsource HR Services to BeyondHR?

Outsourcing to BeyondHR, a specialised HR consultancy in the UK, empowers your business with strategic guidance and expertise for various HR challenges, from employee grievances to managing ill health or maternity leave. Our seasoned HR consultants are committed to helping businesses optimise their workforce, improve employee engagement, and navigate through complex HR challenges seamlessly.

By entrusting your HR responsibilities to BeyondHR, your business can focus on core competencies while our HR consultants ensure compliance with the latest employment laws and best practices.

The result is a more efficient, compliant, and people-centric organization poised for long-term growth and success. For more insights, visit our testimonials page to learn how our HR consultancy services have supported businesses across Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Health & Safety for businesses

Employers have a duty of care over their employees, making health and safety a key component of a business. Our health and safety advisors will provide practical assistance, documentation, and administration, supporting your business and ensuring it is compliant with health and safety legislation.

Our health and safety advisor will provide an annual on-site visit to complete a health and safety audit, alongside continuous unlimited telephone and email support from the health and safety team.

By outsourcing your health and safety, you provide an extra layer of protection for employees and the business, while keeping risk assessments up to date for HSE or HSENI inspections of the workplace.  

Our services are perfect for supporting departments including HR and production, as it’s not possible for one employee to have covered all aspects of HR management or Health & Safety requirements.

Giving Constructive Feedback to Candidates

Giving constructive feedback to unsuccessful candidates may feel like a waste of valuable time or may put fear into a manager or HR professional in case they say, ‘the wrong thing’. While it is more time-consuming to provide feedback, could it be better for employers in the long run to educate unsuccessful candidates?

We know that a lack of constructive feedback leads to disengagement in the workplace, with 98% of employees feeling disconnected when they receive little or no feedback. If this statistic was even broadly similar for not providing constructive feedback to candidates, could you be damaging your employer brand?

This is particularly relevant when providing constructive feedback to candidates following unsuccessful interviews. Whilst they aren’t right for your business, they could be suitable in the future. 

Content 

Why Giving Constructive Feedback to Candidates helps them

Giving constructive feedback to candidates enables them to improve by identifying areas for growth, making them stronger candidates for future opportunities. Employers who provide this feedback contribute to building resilience in candidates, encouraging them to use the feedback positively.

If they can develop the necessary skills and competencies, they will ultimately create more impact and contribute more to their business and the economy generally. Candidates will have a clearer understanding of company expectations for a particular role or industry, by being more self-aware the candidate can work on those areas to perform to a higher standard in the next interview.

Providing feedback may help the candidate identify a role more suited to their skill set, helping to narrow their job search and increase the chance of being successful.  Constructive feedback is beneficial for both the candidate’s personal and professional development, especially when the feedback is specific to the candidate.

It shouldn’t just be a tick-box exercise. To be frank, if you have followed your recruitment process correctly and conducted professional interviews, candidates will have been unsuccessful for a legitimate reason, so you have nothing to fear. To put it into context 65% of employees wish to receive more feedback.

 

Why giving constructive feedback benefits your business

Employers often underestimate the value candidates place on feedback and its positive impact on the employer brand. A recent survey conducted by Eden Scott on LinkedIn, identified that 65% of respondents said the most frustrating element of the interview process is getting no feedback.  By providing feedback, your company distinguishes itself as constructive, helpful, and caring, positively influencing the employer brand.

A positive interaction, marked by constructive feedback, leaves a lasting good impression, encouraging candidates to consider reapplying in the future, referring others, or even supporting your business as clients or customers. Providing constructive feedback and fostering long-term relationships means that while candidates may not be the perfect fit now, they could be ideal for future opportunities. This may reduce the time and costs spent on future recruitment campaigns.

It positions your company as a leader committed to professional growth, extending beyond your immediate employees to anyone who engages with your organisation. A strong competitive advantage against business competitors helps you to pull in high calibre candidates.

Feedback sessions provide a unique opportunity to gain insights into your recruitment process from the candidates’ perspective, allowing for continuous improvement and ensuring your company remains a top choice for the best talent.

Lastly, providing constructive feedback underscores respect for the effort and time candidates invest in their applications and interviews for your business.

Dos and Don’ts of constructive feedback following interviews.

The key thing is that feedback needs to be constructive.  For example, telling a candidate that ‘your personality doesn’t fit here’ is likely to lead to problems but with feedback like ‘we would like you to have more experience of face-to-face complaint handling,’ they know what they need to do to improve for the future.

Even though the candidate was unsuccessful, they will have a positive outlook on your business by being transparent and communicating. Timing of feedback is also critical, providing it quickly and not having the candidate chasing is vital. Feedback should be provided when making the candidate aware they are unsuccessful.

Do

  • Be transparent and honest with candidates
  • Provide specifics on where to improve using examples from the interview
  • Use a polite manner, avoiding rude or insensitive comments
  • Give feedback that is useful for candidates to improve in the future

Don’t

  • Act superior or condescending.
  • Promise future opportunities if the candidate isn’t suitable, this gives false hopes.
  • Compare candidates against each other, this is seen as insensitive.

Statistics of feedback in the workplace

  • A majority of 65% of employees want more frequent feedback.
  • Organisations that consistently offer feedback to their employees, experience turnover rates that are 14.9% lower than those that do not.
  • Three-quarters of employees consider the feedback they receive to be of value.
  • Nearly half (43%) of employees with high engagement levels get feedback at least once every week. In contrast, 40% of workers who rarely or never receive feedback show signs of high disengagement.
  • Over half (60%) of workers have a preference for receiving feedback either daily or weekly.
  • A significant 77% of HR leaders believe that annual performance evaluations fail to provide an accurate reflection of an employee’s performance.
  • Regarding performance reviews, 28% of millennials favour a quarterly frequency, and 38% prefer an annual one, whereas 58% of baby boomers are in favour of the traditional annual performance review.

Bates v The Post Office: Learnings for employers

Have you watched Bates v The Post Office?

From the outset the string of lies began, damaging the relationship between the Post Office (PO) and the sub-postmasters.

Disclaimer, there may be some spoilers throughout this blog post!

Due to failure in leadership, one million people in the UK have signed a petition for Paula Vennells (PO’s ex-boss) CBE to be removed.

Content 

Why as a HR consultancy, are we speaking on the topic?

This scandal has (and will continue to have) significantly damaged the PO’s reputation which will have a major impact on their employer brand.  Also, the impact on company culture will be catastrophic leading current employees to wonder if they can trust their employer and whether or not they want to continue in the employment relationship.  

Background to Bates v The Post Office

The Bates v The Post Office case stems from the flawed Horizon IT system, costing the PO an estimated £1.5 billion for the setup and rollout. Rather than accept the new system was incorrect the PO accused sub-postmasters of theft and fraud, including false accounting based on incorrect information from the Horizon system.

There were 555 claimants involved in the case, the accusations had shattering consequences on the accused, leading to financial ruin, imprisonment, and inflicted severe stress. The situation impacted many of the sub-postmasters’ mental health, having devastating consequences including suicide. The case also made a mockery of the British Justice System.

Repeatedly, the sub-postmasters were told “You’re the only one having these issues”, to deflect the issues back on them and not the faulty system. Many were required to pay tens of thousands back.

The Bates v The Post Office scandal highlights the human cost of company errors as well as the requirement for the company to maintain ethical management whilst maintaining employee trust. HR plays a critical role in these areas.

Employer Brand

All organisations have an employer brand. “It’s the way in which organisations differentiate themselves in the labour market, enabling them to attract, recruit, retain and engage the right people” (CIPD).

Right now, the PO looks untrustworthy, dishonest, fails to follow correct processes, and is unsupportive towards employees. Why would potentially talented candidates apply to a dishonest company? This may also lead to many talented employees seeking new employment following the unethical practices by the PO.

The breakdown of trust stems from the PO refusing to acknowledge Horizon’s faults and failing to properly investigate the issues. Refusal continued even with contrary evidence. This case highlights the importance of transparency and honesty in company communications to employees.

The PO will struggle to rebuild trust, an essential element of a healthy working environment.

Following the scandal, the PO is now being investigated by the Police for fraud after blaming IT faults on the sub-postmasters.

Unfair Company Procedures

The poor handling of this situation by the PO is evident throughout. Their procedures come into question with the lack of investigations and disregard of the sub-postmaster’s grievances. Underlining the failure to have fair procedures in the workplace. As an outsourced HR consultancy, ensuring companies follow fair and legal processes is at the forefront of all discussions, especially when it comes to disciplinary and grievance situations.

Problematic management

The PO’s management and leadership team demonstrated a lack of accountability with the raised concerns, aggravating the situation and further damaging the PO’s reputation. The leadership team had sought key information on the issue of accessing the sub-postmaster’s accounts remotely after the accused were already told they couldn’t, and by that stage many were already prosecuted.

Furthermore, PO continually pushed back on providing information and when it did, most information was redacted. HR’s role in holding management teams accountable and upholding ethical standards prevents such ethical lapses.

HR is equipped to handle crisis management, and having an unbiased partner like an outsourced HR company can be a proactive intervention. This includes providing advice on how to potentially mitigate the damage caused by the Horizon System failures.

During the mediation process, that took over a year, many of the accused walked out of these meetings. Mediation can be a powerful means of resolving disputes but perhaps the claimants felt they could mediate successfully under the circumstances.

Learnings for employers from Bates v The Post Office

It underlines the requirement for employers to have a robust system in place for accountability, employee grievances, and disciplinaries. Ensuring transparency across communication in the workplace, keeping the trust between employers and employees. Time and time again, we see where the failure to follow the correct procedure leaves employers in hot water.

Don’t ignore employee concerns and if unsure how best to handle a situation, seek external support, especially for HR advice. By doing so, you have an extra layer of protection for the business.

Employers should be cautious and monitor procedures to prevent breakdowns in trust and relationships.

The Bates v The Post Office scandal serves as a powerful reminder of the consequences when trust and ethical management are side-lined in company procedures. By learning from this scandal, HR can play a pivotal role in guiding companies through turbulent times, ensuring that the rights of every employee are upheld.

Future implications

The judgment of Bates v The Post Office may lead to reshaping the understanding of good faith and fair dealing in employment in UK employment contracts. Alongside the requirement for rigorous testing and accountability before the implementation of a new technical system in a company, especially those with the size of investment as Horizon.

Case Law in Great Britain 2023

We have reviewed the top case law in Great Britain 2023 providing key learnings for employers, reducing the risk of businesses making the same mistake as others have. Learnings for employers are clearly outlined at the end of each case law. 

Content 

Case law in Great Britain 2023

Mackenzie v The Chief Constable of the Police Scotland 2023

The Employment tribunal allows for the hearing of mental health discrimination case after the time limit has been surpassed.

Background of claim

Laura Mackenzie (the claimant) was selected for a position as a probationary officer with Police Scotland (the respondent). She had successfully passed through the selection process and was deemed to be an impressive candidate. The claimant’s onboarding progressed to an advanced stage and she received a congratulatory call from an inspector, and arrangements for a uniform fitting.

In the later stages of the onboarding process, an occupational health meeting occurred to evaluate the person’s physical and mental health. During the meeting the claimant disclosed she was taking antidepressants for anxiety and depression.  The claimant was then informed of the respondent’s policy, that stated police officers could not be employed within two years of last taking antidepressants. As a result, the claimant had her job offer withdrawn.

The claimant had been transparent about her health during the recruitment process and was left heartbroken when she received the withdrawal letter and the claimant felt she was discriminated against, leading to her raising a complaint against the respondent.

Another issue within this case was time limitations. The claimant asserted she wasn’t aware of the time limits. Furthermore, adding to the delay was the impact of the decision on her mental health, the pandemic, financial resources, and problems finding representation as well as not having confidence in her claim.

The tribunal found that there was no evidence of the impact of the decision on mental health nor, financial resources to cause the delay. However, accepted that the claimant struggled with representation but didn’t feel it could be accepted across the whole duration from April 2020 and October 2021.  Additionally, the tribunal did not accept the issue of the pandemic.

It was stated the reasons for the delay were due to the claimant being unaware of the time limit and her reluctance to proceed without confidence from an advisor. The claimant gained confidence following an article in the newspaper.

Tribunal result

The tribunal found that the claimant, whilst intelligent and educated, she was also wronged by the respondent and posed the question of ‘was it reasonable for the claimant in this case to be unaware of the time limit? The question itself accepts that she was unaware of it.’ The tribunal ruled it was reasonable for the claimant to be unaware of the time limits, with her efforts to seek advice having not been successful.

The tribunal found issues with the respondent’s policy of deferring or withdrawing a candidate’s offer due to mental health conditions, this led to the tribunal concluding there is jurisdiction to hear the claimant’s claim.

Learning for employers

This case highlights the ongoing issue of discrimination against individuals with mental health conditions in the workplace as well as adjustments a tribunal might make for those with mental health conditions. Employers should be looking at ensuring all policies are fair and legally compliant, updating any policies that unfairly discriminate against individuals with mental health conditions. 

Usdaw & Others v Tesco Stores Ltd

Union proceeding to Supreme court to prevent Tesco’s scheme of ‘fire and rehire’ to remove long-term financial benefit known as ‘Retained Pay’.

Background of claim

Usdaw is the union for shopworkers and in this case, was represented by Thompsons Solicitors. This case has now reached the Supreme Court in the UK. The challenge faced in this case was Tesco’s decision to ‘Fire and rehire’ employees to change their employment contracts. Tesco was seeking to remove the employee financial benefit of Retained Pay.

The Retained Pay was an incentive used by Tesco to remain with the company during certain conditions. Tesco agreed on this incentive with employees back in 2007, as they need specific employees to remain in their roles for operational productivity. In specific cases, it was offered so employees didn’t claim redundancy and to accommodate the possibility of relocating.

The Court of Appeal overturned the decision made by the High Court, which granted an injunction preventing Tesco from moving forward with tactics of ‘fire and rehire’ to remove employee’s rights to Retained Pay. They overturned the decision due to the understanding that Retained Pay was not “guaranteed for life” and “permanent”, as the collective agreement only guaranteed this incentive for the duration of a particular contract of employment.  Referencing the agreement there was no mutual intention for the Retained Pay to continue past the current contracts.

This decision removed the legal implications stopping Tesco from serving notice on the contracts and removing the Retained Pay benefit. After this decision, the union decided to advance the issue to the Supreme Court.

Tribunal Results

As this case has been uplifted to the Supreme Court, we await the final decision, but the Supreme Court will now look at how the employment contract should be interpreted specifically looking at Retained Pay. Reviewing if “permanent” refers to the employee’s tenure in their current role or only for the duration of this specific employee contract. They will also review the fairness and equity in employment practices, such as ‘fire and rehire’, taking into account employer rights to amend contracts and the protection of employees’ rights and benefits.

Learnings for employers

The case of Usdaw & others v Tesco Stores brings many learnings for employers, and the learnings may continue to come as the Supreme Court publishes its decision. The case highlights the importance of clear and precise language within contracts of employment, especially the duration of employee benefits. Further to this, the case pinpoints the risks associated with employers using ‘fire and rehire’ tactics to modify employee contracts, especially benefits. These tactics may create a hostile environment damaging the employer–employee relationship.

Furthermore, this case acts as a reminder of the evolving landscape of employment law and the duty employers have to keep up to date with current laws and regulations. Finally, the situation Tesco now sees itself in, emphasises the importance of understanding the long-term consequences of employment decisions. Companies should be looking at it not solely from a financial and legal perspective, but employee morale and company reputation perspective as well. 

Ahmed v National Westminster Bank PLC

Employee wins case for unfair dismissal but has award both basic and compensatory reduced by 100%. Where did the employer go wrong?

Background of claim

The claimant had Bipolar Affective disorder and defined as disabled under section 6 of the Equality Act 2010. The reason for dismissal by the respondent was a breakdown of relationships. The Claimant had 3 different line managers and various complaints from other colleagues.

Further to this, the claimant was operating two external businesses, one which had significant reputational risks to the respondent. The claimant “agile love business” was linked to his LinkedIn account and contain sexually explicit materials including the claimant, causing an impact on the claimant’s relationship with the respondent and colleagues. The claimant failed to gain permission for the external businesses and used the respondents address for one of the businesses.

The claimant had consistently resisted and strongly challenging any management instructions, the tribunal found it was reasonable to have dismissed the employee not on conduct but a breakdown of relationships. It was not reasonable for the respondent to not carry out a full investigation into the unattributed comments and information gained from adhoc conversations.

Additionally, the claimant was informed not to enter the respondent’s site but he parked two caravans on the site and was aggressive towards Guardians. He previously had threatened another employee stating he would “cause gross misconduct against him”.

The respondent had decided not to carry out another investigation, after the claimant failed to engage with the previous meeting, however he was sent a report of this meeting. The claimant was not informed of his potential dismissal or invited to a meeting in order to discuss the reasons for dismissal. This meeting could have occurred over video if the respondent found the claimant to be aggressive.

The respondent detailed reasons in the dismissal letter included, “vocally criticising” towards contractors and colleagues. The tribunal agreed with the contractors due to a letter however dismissed towards colleagues as a lack of evidence. Other details included repeated lateness to work, spreading rumours of redundancy, repeated contacting colleagues outside working hours and a failure to engage with colleagues and managers in a professional manner.

Furthermore, the claimant was not given the right to appeal the decision.

Tribunal Results

The tribunal deemed the dismissal unfair, due to the respondent’s failure to follow correct processes including a letter inviting him to a meeting detailing that he may potentially be dismissed, a meeting or the right to appeal the decision.

However, the tribunal did out line that “the question we must answer is not what we would have done, but what this respondent would have done had it followed the correct process.” Concluding that if the respondent had followed the correct process, the dismissal would have been a fair dismissal.

This resulted in the tribunal finding it reasonable to reduce both the basic award and contributory award by 100%.

The claimant had also claimed direct discrimination and discrimination arising from disability, the tribunal dismissed both these claims as the respondent did not act unfavourably towards the claimant as of his disability.

Learnings for employers

The tribunal found the dismissal to be unfair due to failure to follow the correct processes. Including not inviting the claimant to meetings, not providing him the chance to defend himself and not offering the chance to appeal the decision. Employers should also have clear policies regarding external businesses activities and make employees aware of these policies.

Employers must investigate complaints fully, which is an essential part of the disciplinary process especially if it forms the foundations of the employee’s dismissal.

Fundamentally, its clear if businesses do not follow the correct procedures and processes it will be an unfair dismissal.

 

 

We have also covered case law in Northern Ireland 2023, which looks at Agnew v PSNI be sure to give it a read. 

Case Law in Northern Ireland 2023

We have reviewed the top case law in Northern Ireland 2023 providing key learnings for employers, reducing the risk of businesses making the same mistake as others have. Learnings for employers are clearly outlined at the end of each case law. 

Content

Shiels v Southern Health and Social Care Trust 2023

Employer deemed to have fairly dismissed an employee due to inappropriate posting on social media.  The employee raised an unfair dismissal claim following misconduct. 

Background of claim;

Ms Shiels (claimant) was employed by South Health and Social Care Trust (Respondent) for nearly 5 years as a healthcare assistant. This case arises following an incident on 28th May 2022 in an Orange hall after a march.

Whilst the claimant wasn’t present at the orange hall, the claimant liked and shared a video on Facebook, sharing on her account that stated she worked for the respondent.  The contents of the video included a song described as ‘vile and repulsive’ with its references to Michaela McAreavey, a young woman murdered on honeymoon.

This is not the only tribunal relating to the video, McDade v Norman Emerson was in relation to the video.  The claimant in this case was Ms Shiels’s partner. Outrage across the public occurred, leading to the respondent opening an investigation against the claimant leading to her dismissal.

The claimant brought forward a claim for unfair dismissal.

Tribunal Result

The claimant claimed she had not watched the full video, due to a ‘pathetic’ signal at Stormont and had no idea of the contents in the video, nor could hear precisely what was being song in the video. The claimant stated the strong focus on cultural bannerettes.

The video was removed by both the claimant and her partner, by deactivating their profiles. However, the tribunal did have access to a 31-second clip of the video live-streamed on Facebook. Further to this, the claimant continually refused to reactivate her Facebook profile.

The respondent throughout the investigation was very clear on their social media policy and Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion policy outlined in the employee handbook. Their social media policy, it states “… this policy does not only apply when an employee is at work, but at all times when a connection to the trust has been made.”

The Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion policy detailed acts of discrimination that would result in disciplinary actions with the possibility of dismissal. The claimants’ actions on the 28th May 2022 amounted to “serious breaches” of the organisation’s policies.

Under the 1996 order, the tribunal found this to be a fair dismissal, outlining the claimant’s action were reckless whilst bringing the respondent’s reputation into serious disrepute. The tribunal dismissed the claimant’s case.

Learnings for employers

Ensuring to have clear policies outlined in the employee handbook and following procedures correctly. The respondent response followed their Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy and Social media policy as a basis for actions taken.

Agnew v Police Service of Northern Ireland 2023

Supreme court decision on the Agnew V PSNI case, the employer loses holiday pay backpay case.

Background of the Claim:

The case of Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) v Agnew centres around the dispute over how holiday pay should be calculated for employees. The PSNI calculated holiday pay based on the basic salary of their police officers and civilian employees, excluding any overtime and certain allowances.

This practice was challenged as it was not in line with European case law, which states that holiday pay should reflect an employee’s “normal pay,” inclusive of regular allowances, overtime, and commission. The discrepancy arose from the interpretation of the Working Time Regulations, which were implemented in Northern Ireland in 1998. These regulations, stipulated by the EU Working Time Directive, are intended to ensure fair compensation during annual leave periods.

The Supreme Court’s involvement was necessitated due to differing interpretations of these regulations and the subsequent impact on the calculation of holiday pay. The case clarified the legal stance on what constitutes a series of underpayments and the significance of gaps between these underpayments.

The outcome of this case had far-reaching implications, not only for the PSNI but also for a wide range of employers in both Northern Ireland and Great Britain, altering the landscape of holiday pay calculation and the potential financial liabilities associated with previous underpayments.

Result

The Supreme Court confirmed that PSNI employees are entitled to back pay for underpaid holiday entitlements. A crucial part of the ruling was the rejection of the “three-month gap” rule. The court held that a three-month gap between underpayments does not necessarily break the series of deductions. This interpretation allows employees to claim for a continuous series of underpayments, even if there are gaps longer than three months.

The decision could lead to substantial financial implications for the PSNI, estimated between £30-40 million in back pay.

Learnings for employers

Employers must ensure that holiday pay calculations include regular allowances, overtime, and commission, aligning with the EU Working Time Directive.

This is particularly crucial in Northern Ireland, where there is no cap on the retrospective claim period. Compared to GB which is capped at two years on pay claim. Employers who have not been including these elements in holiday pay calculations may face significant back pay liabilities.

The ruling introduced the concept of a “composite holiday,” where different types of leave (EU entitlements, statutory entitlements, and contractual entitlements) are not necessarily taken in sequence. This adds complexity to leave management, as different rules apply to each type of leave regarding pay and rescheduling.

Conduct thorough audits of past holiday pay calculations to assess potential exposure to back pay claims. Adjust current holiday pay practices to ensure compliance and reduce the risk of future claims. Understand that correctly paying holiday pay now can limit future liabilities and employee dissatisfaction.

Pakalniskiene v Hotpursuit Enterprises Ltd 2023

The employer had fairly dismissed an employee following an incident amounting to gross misconduct, key learnings for employers here for how the process should be carried out.

Claim background

The claimant worked for Hotpursuit Enterprises (the respondent) for 16 years, from September 2004 to August 2020 when they were dismissed for gross misconduct.

In July 2020 a supervisor, who was not the claimant’s line manager, submitted a grievance, that the claimant had been shouting abusive comments at the supervisor. The supervisor alleged that the claimant spoke in Lithuanian when making abusive comments that she was being ‘f***ed by Irish men and was a skinny bitch’. The supervisor was upset by the comments, as well as feeling intimidated and humiliated.

Upon receiving the grievance, the claimant was suspended and an investigation into the incident occurred. Two Lithuanian employees were interviewed as part of the investigation and confirmed the allegations detailed above. The claimant agreed she was in the car park but stated she did not make the comments and made counter-allegations against the supervisor. These were that the supervisor had said she was going to get the claimant dismissed and made threats towards the 2 witnesses about their contracts if they did not back up her complaint by confirming it with statements.

At the tribunal, the respondent made it very clear, that the supervisor had zero influence over the contracts of the 2 witnesses.

The claimant was invited to a disciplinary hearing on the 5th August 2020 with the allegation of gross misconduct. The tribunal described the hearing as ‘perfunctory’ (i.e. carried out without real interest or effort) due to the nature of the meeting. The respondent asked a few pre-scripted questions, apparently due to the uncomplicated allegations of the claim put forward. As the claimant already had a live final written warning on file, they were dismissed during the hearing.

The decision to dismiss was appealed.  However, the appeal was unsuccessful following which the claimant submitted a claim for unfair dismissal.

Tribunal result

The tribunal considered the reasonableness of the respondent to dismiss the claimant. The tribunal considered whether the respondent’s decision to dismiss fell within the ‘band of reasonable responses’. The tribunal found that whilst the respondent’s investigation and disciplinary hearing were basic, action was taken promptly. The tribunal stated there was little room for ambiguity to the allegations and the probable truth of it. Whilst ‘perfunctory’, the process carried out by the respondent met statutory requirements.

This resulted in the tribunal concluding that the respondent was justified in their decision of gross misconduct and dismissing the employee. The tribunal dismissed the claimants case.

Learnings for employers

This case gives an insight into the band of reasonable responses when applied to dismissal cases. Learnings for employers from this case, are the comments by the tribunal around the basic nature of the investigation and disciplinary, meeting narrowly the statutory requirements. This highlights the need for thorough processes in these circumstances. 

Taylor v Farrans Construction & Ors 2023

Employer wins a case of fair dismissal through redundancy and a claim against age discrimination.

Background of claim

Mr Taylor (the claimant) was employed by Farrans Construction (the respondent) as a Crane driver for 3 years, from November 2017 to October 2020. When terminated the claimant was 66 years old, he had turned 66 during the redundancy process and one year away from the state retirement age.

Redundancies were deemed necessary due to the downturn in work following the pandemic. The respondent began with a voluntary redundancy process, in which 8 employees came forward. 4 were accepted and 4 were rejected, 2 of which were rejected due to their experience operating heavier cranes.

All 5 crane drivers were put into a pool for redundancy, including the claimant. The first consultation meeting was set to take place on the 24th August 2020, the claimant had requested a meeting, which took place on the 21st August 2020 with Mr Murphy. Meeting immediately before the first consultation meeting, during this meeting the claimant unknowing to Mr Murphy recorded their conversation. His reasons for doing so were due to him feeling Mr Murphy was acting as a double agent putting the business’s needs first, rather than having the claimant’s best interests.

The claimant continued to record the three consultation meetings, in which Mr Murphy was not involved in. Another complaint made by the claimant involving Mr Murphy stated he didn’t engage enough with the claimant.

Whilst all the employees scored high in the exercise, the claimant and another employee scored the joint lowest. This resulted in the scoring came down to the length of service and supervisor experience. In the beginning, only one employee was to be made redundant, but this was subsequently increased to 2 in August 2020.

The available alternative roles were emailed to both employees, with the other employee taking up a new role as a barge master. The claimant stated the alternative work was not suitable for him.

The claimant claimed the redundancy process was designed to get rid of him due to his age and reaching retirement age. However, the tribunal dismissed this claim because of the lack of evidence as well as the scoring matrix being developed before the voluntary redundancy exercise had been approved or rejected.

Tribunal result

The tribunal concluded that the redundancy process and outcome were within the band of reasonable responses from the respondent. Stating their reasons for making the redundancy were fair and a fair process was carried out. As for the age discrimination claim, the claimant was unable to provide evidence which suggested that an act of age discrimination had occurred. This meant the burden didn’t shift the respondent in that regard. The tribunal dismissed the claimant’s claims.

Learnings for employers

Ensuring any decisions relating to redundancy, follow a previously agreed scoring matrix to ensure a fair process is followed. Decisions in this case were decided on the employee’s experience including supervision experience. The tribunal was able to state it was a fair process due to the scoring matrix.


We have also covered case law in Great Britain 2023!